The Manhattan Project

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & HistoryNational Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Hanford, WA

Luzell Johnson

Luzell Johnson left a factory job in Alabama for a much higher-paying one as a cement finisher at Hanford. His wife later joined him, and they bought a house in Hanford; like many Hanford workers, Johnson settled in the area after the war. Johnson, an African American, recalls segregation, work, and social life at Hanford.

Lombard Squires

Lombard "Lom" Squires went out to Hanford in June, 1944, as a chief supervisor in plutonium inspections. He coordinated with Glenn Seaborg and the Metallurgical Laboratory to engineer the separations process. 

Lloyd Wiehl's Interview

[Interviewed by Robert W. Mull, from S.L. Sanger's Working on the Bomb: An Oral History of WWII Hanford, Portland State University, 1995]

It came like a bombshell. They announced they were taking the whole valley. For what? We didn't know. At that time, the farmers were short of money and didn't have any place to go, really. So eventually the government appraised it and put the money in escrow for the landowners to draw on. This was esti­mated as their just compensation.

Lloyd Wiehl

Wiehl's father homesteaded a fruit and livestock ranch out of sagebrush, and later operated a ferry between his ranch and White Bluffs. When the Manhattan Project arrived in Priest Rapids Valley, Wiehl was an attorney in Yakima and represented affected landowners.

Lester Bowls

Lester Bowls worked at DuPont war plants before becoming a construction expediter at Hanford. After construction was finished at Hanford, we worked in operations in the 300 Area. After the war, he worked for Boeing. At the time of this interview, he lived in Seattle's North End and ran a saw sharpening shop at his residence to make a little spending money. He called himself "a guy with a fourth-grade Arkansas education who raised seven kids, and five went to college."

Leona Marshall Libby

Leona Woods was 23 in 1942, the only woman present when Enrico Fermi's nuclear pile at the Univer­sity of Chicago went critical and into the history books. Mrs. Libby was one of the few women scientists in the Manhattan Project and prob­ably the most well known. Even so, during an interview she laughed off questions about what it was like to be so distinctive. She did mention Du Pont had been thoughtful enough to provide her with a private bathroom at the reactor buildings. 


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